Archive for the ‘infrastructure’ Category

Stimulus: Example of More Wise Spending on “Infrastructure”?

March 27, 2009

One man jumped to his death off the All-America Bridge this year.

Two more used the Akron bridge — more commonly known as the Y-Bridge — to commit suicide in 2008.

Akron hopes to curtail future deaths on what has been dubbed ”Suicide Bridge” by installing a fence.

The controversial fencing — some have been pushing for it, while others think it’s a waste of money — was among the local projects the state approved Thursday for federal stimulus funds.

The Akron Beacon Journal

Read the rest:
http://www.ohio.com/news/top_sto
ries/41958387.html

Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic, holding a book prepared by Senator Sherrod Brown’s office explaining the stimulus plan, explains how Akron’s share of the $937 million transportation infrastructure stimulus will be used to create 240 new jobs in the Akron area during a press conference Thursday in Akron. (Paul Tople/Akron Beacon Journal)

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We also noted stories today that taxes will be raised by the states of California and New York despite the stimulus…

California:
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/ne
ws?pid=20601087&sid=aD8MuL.kRqZQ

New York:
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news
?pid=20601087&sid=asgb4ak95D8c&r
efer=worldwide

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The number  of jobs promised by the stimulus will not be realized we know now:

Stumulus: Obama and Congress Sold Us A Lot Of Useless Swampland; Ready To Buy More? Stimulus: Way Fewer Jobs Than You Thought

Obama Stimulus; Fewer Jobs, Real Growth Industry is Government Counting, Regulating Jobs (Go Figure)

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Spending Priority on Infrastructure Needed: Schwarzenegger, Rendell, Bloomberg Tell Obama

March 22, 2009

President Obama is pressing ahead on his budget priorities of health care, education, energy and the environment. 

But three top civic leaders are reminging him not to neglect infrastructure.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger of California, Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg appeared on NBC’s “Meet the Press” with David Gregory on Sunday to urge a higher priority for national spending on infrastructure….

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA) (L) speaks as New York ... 
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA) (L) speaks as New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg listens during a pre-taping of “Meet the Press” at NBC studios on March 20, 2009 in Washington. The program aired on March 22, 2009. The governor of America’s largest state and the mayor of its largest city called on the federal government during the show to dramatically boost its spending on bridges, sewers, high-speed rail and other infrastructure. Picture taken March 20, 2009. REUTERS/Brendan Smialowski-Meet the Press/Handout

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By Rob Hotakainen, McClatchy

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger went to the White House on Friday with Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to press President Barack Obama for more federal aid for infrastructure projects.

Noting that California’s unemployment rate had risen to 10.5 percent, Schwarzenegger said a good response would be to increase government spending on roads and bridges and other projects.

“This creates jobs,” he said. “We had a terrific meeting.”

Schwarzenegger and Obama appear to be developing a close relationship. There was no mention Friday of the moment in October when, in the heat of the presidential election, Schwarzenegger compared Obama’s policies to European socialism.

Schwarzenegger said at the time that Obama “says he wants to pursue the same spread-the-wealth ideas that Europe had decades ago.”

On Thursday, when the two appeared together in Los Angeles, the governor praised Obama for his “courageous leadership and the great commitment he has displayed.” And he said California is “benefiting tremendously” from the economic stimulus package Obama has put together.

Obama reciprocated, calling Schwarzenegger “one of the great innovators of state government” who has turned out to be “just an outstanding partner” for his administration.

“I’m grateful for him,” Obama said.

http://sacbee.com/arnold/story/1
717546.html

Mitt Romney: Stimulate Economy, Not Government

February 6, 2009

Mitt Romney ran several businesses, he understands economics and he was a conservative Republican elected to be Governor of Massachusetts — a very liberal Democratic state.

So he might know a thing or two about the stimulus now kicking around Washington DC.

“The Obama spending bill would stimulate the government, not the economy,” he says.

This caught my eye because I’ve been following the economic meltdown in California.  In that state, the only economic sectors that “grew” last year were health care and government.

That means the employers hiring people were hiring health care or government workers: not workers in factories, those involved in say, trade, like seaport workers; or other kinds of skilled professionals.

Even the Silicon Valley workforce was not growing as fast as the government.

After the stimulus we might see this growth in government nation wide — which is part of the reason that governors and mayors like this stimulus.

But why doesn’t Romney like the stimulus, as a former governor?

“As someone who spent a career in the private sector, I’d like to see a stimulus package that respects the productivity and genius of the American people. And experience shows us what it should look like,” Romney says.

In other words, companies that hire things and sell things make for more real growth than a growing government.

Romney has a very good view of the stimulus which is on CNN:

any new spending must be strictly limited to projects that are essential. How do we define essential? Well, a good rule is that the projects we fund in a stimulus should be legitimate government priorities that would have been carried out in the future anyway, and are simply being moved up to create those jobs now.

As we take out nonessential projects, we should focus on funding the real needs of government that will have immediate impact. And what better place to begin than repairing and replacing military equipment that was damaged or destroyed in Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan?

Third, sending out rebate checks to citizens and businesses is not a tax cut. The media bought this line so far, but they’ve got it wrong. Checks in the mail are refunds, not tax cuts. We tried rebate checks in 2008 and they did virtually nothing to jump-start the economy. Disposable income went up, but consumption hardly moved.

Businesses aren’t stupid. They’re not going to invest in equipment and new hires for a one-time, short-term blip. What’s needed are permanent rate cuts on individuals and businesses.

Read it all:
http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/0
2/06/romney.stimulus/index.html

Stimulus: Republicans Block Dems Offering to Spend More Money

February 3, 2009

Senate Republicans on Tuesday blocked Democrats from adding $25 billion for highways, mass transit, and water projects to President Barack Obama‘s economic recovery program.

Already unhappy over the size of the measure, Republicans insisted additional infrastructure projects be paid for with cuts elsewhere in the bill.

By ANDREW TAYLOR, Associated Press Writer

But the Democratic amendment garnered 58 votes, just shy of the supermajority needed under Senate budget rules, and many more efforts to increase the measure’s size are sure to follow.

“We can’t add to the size of this bill,” said Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla. “The amount is just inconceivable to most people.”

At issue was a plan by Sens. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., to increase the highway funding in the bill to $40 billion, which reflected complaints from lawmakers in both parties that Obama’s plan doesn’t do enough to relieve a backlog of unfinished projects. The duo also wanted to increase mass transit programs by $5 billion boost and water projects by $7 billion.

“Our highways are jammed. People go to work in gridlock,” Feinstein said Tuesday.

Just two Republicans supported the move, Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania and Christopher Bond of Missouri. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., and Judd Gregg, R-N.H., named Tuesday morning to become Commerce secretary, did not vote.

Senate debate unfolded as Obama issued another call for swift action on the measure, urging lawmakers to act “with the same sense of urgency Americans feel every day.”

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/2009020
3/ap_on_go_co/congress_stimulus

Related:
Stimulus: Some Loony Spending Requests in Obama Plan

Senate Stimulated: Obama Economic Bill Under Revision

February 3, 2009

Perhaps, after all, bipartisanship lives in the United States Senate.

The issue is the President’s economic or recovery package, also called the stimulus.

Top Democrats plan to add a big increase in highway and mass transit funding.

Patty Murray, D-Wash., wants to add $25 billion in infrastructure projects.  That would bring the U.S. stimulus more in line with the plan now favored by France.

France yesterday rejected a stimulus plan without a lot of real infrastructureimprovements as “too much like the ‘Obama style’ plan.”

Highway projects in the stimulus would also be boosted by almost 50 percent, to $40 billion.

Republicans, for their part, readied a plan to lower mortgage costs to try to jolt the housing market out of its slump.

Sen. Mel Martinez (R-FL) offered a plan with  $713 billion. He says his plan offers more immediate jobs and tax cuts and a smaller increase to the debt.

The $885 billion Senate economic plan faces tough going from both Democrats and Republicans during debate this week.

The proposal includes $430 billion in tax cuts, $114 billion for infrastructure projects, $138 billion for extending unemployment insurance, food stamps and other provisions to help those in need and $31 billion to address the housing crisis.

“The goal is to shape a package that is more targeted, that would be smaller in size and that would be truly focused on saving or creating jobs and turning the economy around,” said Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine.

Non-job making items in the House version of the simulus like $870 million to combat bird flu should be removed….

Republicans said their goal was to change the bill, not to block it. “Nobody that I know of is trying to keep a package from passing,” said Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader.

“We need to fix housing first,” he said. Republicans are expected to seek a vote on their proposals this week as part of the debate on the overall stimulus measure.

Related:
http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS
/02/02/stimulus/index.html

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky,. discusses the ... 
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky,. discusses the Republican viewpoint on the economic stimulus package as he meets with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, Feb. 2, 2009. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

France Rejects “Obama Style” Stimulus

February 3, 2009

Prime Minister François Fillon on Monday rejected demands that the French government seek to stimulate consumer spending, rather than follow his plan to stimulate corporate and infrastructure investment, to lift France out of its economic slump.

“It would be irresponsible to chose another policy, which would increase our country’s indebtedness without having more infrastructure and increased competitiveness in the end,” Fillon said in a speech in Lyon.

Bloomberg

More than 1.1 million people took to the streets across France last Thursday, according to the Interior Ministry, with unions putting the number of protesters at 2.5 million, to call on President Nicolas Sarkozy to stop cutting government jobs, increase the minimum wage and spend more on households as the economy enters its first recession since 1993.

Opponents of the government have been calling for an “Obama-style” stimulus plan, one that puts money directly into the pockets of working people.

French unemployment rose by about 45,000 people in December, Finance Minister Christine Lagarde said Monday, taking the jobless ranks to the highest level in about two years.

Read the rest:
http://www.iht.com/articles/2009/
02/02/business/frecon.php

Obama Week 3: Senate Poised to Defeat Stimulus?

February 1, 2009

“As it stands it would be very hard for me to vote for this package, because I don’t think it is fully targeted, timely and temporary,” Senator Kent Conrad (D-ND) said. “I think there is widespread dissatisfaction with the package that came over from the House.”

Both Democratic Senator Kent Conrad and Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson seem ready to join with Senate Republicans against the House version of the stimulus….

“Too little is being done about housing, which is central to the crisis,” said Conrad.

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Republicans suggested overhauling the Senate’s stimulus proposal because they said it doesn’t pump enough into the private sector through tax cuts but allows Democrats to go on a spending spree unlikely to jolt the economy.

“When I say start from scratch, what I mean is that the basic approach of this bill, we believe, is wrong,” said Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona, the No. 2 Republican. He added that he was seeing an erosion of support for the bill.

By DOUGLASS K. DANIEL, Associated Press Writer

In this photo provided by CBS, Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., ... 
In this photo provided by CBS, Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., appears on CBS’s ‘Face the Nation’ in Washington, Sunday, Feb. 1, 2009.(AP Photo/CBS Face the Nation, Karin Cooper)

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said he doubted the Senate would pass the bill, contending that Democrats as well as Republicans were uneasy with it. He renewed a Republican complaint that Democrats had not been as bipartisan in writing the bill as Obama had said he wanted.

“I think it may be time … for the president to kind of get a hold of these Democrats in the Senate and the House, who have rather significant majorities, and shake them a little bit and say, ‘Look, let’s do this the right way,'” McConnell said. “I can’t believe that the president isn’t embarrassed about the products that have been produced so far.”

Democrats defended their almost $819 billion version of President Barack Obama’s stimulus plan, which is set for debate this week, and said they were open to considering changes by Republicans. But they said the unrelentingly bleak economic news demanded action.

“We cannot delay this,” said Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, the Democrats’ No. 2 leader. “We can’t engage in the old political rhetoric of saying, ‘Well, maybe it could be a little bit better here and a little bit better there.’ We’ve got to pull together.”

A bank employee counts US dollar bank notes. The euro fell sharply ...

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., agreed that more could be done in the area of housing, though he said tapping money in the separate financial bailout fund would be a more likely way to pay for mortgage relief.

Under Obama’s plan, strained state budgets would receive a cash infusion, projects for roads and other infrastructure would be funded, and “green jobs” in the energy sector would be created. In its centerpiece tax cut, single workers would gain $500 and couples $1,000, even if they don’t earn enough to owe federal income taxes.

Among the major changes Kyl said would be needed to gain Republican support in the Senate was the tax rebate for individuals and couples, which he criticized as going to too many people who didn’t pay the tax to start with. He also criticized the bill for seeking to create nearly three dozen government programs and giving states far more money than they need.

Durbin argued that $1 out of every $3 in the bill goes to tax cuts and defended it as aimed at helping working families. While he contended that Democrats were “very open” to Republican proposals, he cited only what he said were calls for more money in job-creating public works projects, typically a Democratic priority.

Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., characterized the proposal as “a spending plan. It’s not a stimulus plan. It’s temporary, and it’s wasteful.”

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/2009020
1/ap_on_go_co/congress_stimulus

Related:
Economic Stimulus About “Soul of America”
.
Forbes Pleads For Bank Bailout, “Banks Are the Heart of the Financial System”

Here’s What $800 Billion Stimulus Means to America as We Knew It

Fox News:
http://www.foxnews.com/politics/first100days/200
9/02/01/stimulus-heavy-spending-say-growing-nu
mber-senators/

http://jmcpherson.wordpress.com/2009/02/01
/a-stimulating-limbaugh-lesson-and-battles-in-
afghanistan-and-tampa/

Stimulus plan mixes short, long-term job goals

January 31, 2009

No matter the color of your work shirt, this recession is sparing few. From blue collar construction workers to white collar financial sector employees, the economic crisis has dragged a growing swath of American workers into joblessness.

Economic downturns predominantly used to hit blue-collar and young workers. But in this recession, layoffs and business closings are affecting bankers, middle managers, even scientists and journalists.

White collar unemployment jumped 1.6 percentage points — to 4.6 percent — from December of 2007 to December of 2008. But blue-collar workers are still bearing the largest brunt of unemployment, at 11.3 percent.

The shared pain helps explain the varied priorities in the $800 billion-plus rescue package put together by President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress. The $50 billion for building roads, bridges and schools addressed the hardest hit of the unemployed first — hardhat workers.

By JIM KUHNHENN, Associated Press Writer

But there are also piles of wage-producing money for college-educated workers: $62 billion in the House version for health information and renewable energy technology, improving the nation’s power grid and scientific research. Getting it all to them will take longer.

Policymakers are also counting on greater public acceptance for social spending — on the likes of food stamps, unemployment and health insurance — because the victims of the collapse in housing and credit markets cross socio-economic levels.

“The intensity of where we are right now creates a much larger scale of interest by the public,” said Lawrence Mishel, president of the liberal Economic Policy Institute. “You need many more sectors to recover and broad-based policies for that are a new challenge.”

Republicans complain that too much is being directed to expanding the safety net for assisting victims and argue that tax cuts, particularly those addressed at businesses, will produce more sustainable jobs over the long term.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/2009013
1/ap_on_go_pr_wh/stimulus_jobs

American Indians could reap almost $3B in stimulus

January 28, 2009

American Indians stand to gain almost $3 billion as part of the economic stimulus moving through Congress, money that could help some of the nation’s poorest communities rebuild roads, improve health care and boost employment that has lagged behind the rest of the country for decades.

By MARY CLARE JALONICK, Associated Press Writer

The Senate Appropriations Committee on Tuesday included $2.8 billion for Indian tribes in its portion of the nearly $900 billion economic stimulus bill, and a House version to be voted on Wednesday includes a similar amount. That includes hundreds of millions of dollars for schools, health clinics, roads, law enforcement and water projects.

Dante Desiderio, an economic development policy specialist at the National Congress of American Indians, which has lobbied for the money for the past year, calls the bill a “once in a lifetime opportunity” for tribes.

“It really has the potential to lift our communities out of poverty,” Desiderio said.

Indian Country has a long way to go in terms of reviving tribal economies. According to the National Congress of American Indians, real per-capita income of Indians living on reservations is still less than half the national average, unemployment is twice that of the rest of the country, and eight of the 10 poorest counties in the United States are on reservations.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090128/ap_o
n_go_co/stimulus_american_indians

Obama: After Today, Need To Rework Economic Stimulus

January 20, 2009

BARACK OBAMA’S FIRST test as president isn’t his inaugural address. As talented a writer and orator as Obama is, the speech should be a snap. His big test is the economic stimulus package that Congress is expected to pass within a few weeks. The starting point for Congress is an old-fashioned, pork-filled, partisan measure drafted by House Democrats and likely to stimulate the national debt more than the economy.

By Fred Barnes
Weekly Standard

For Obama, it’s a test of his leadership, his promise of bipartisanship, and his economic common sense. Should Congress pass a package similar to the House bill and Obama goes along, he will have failed on all three counts.

With his sky-high popularity and unused political capital, Obama has the power to shape the stimulus bill to his liking. But he’ll have to exert that power. If he doesn’t, Democrats in Congress will not only have rolled him, they’re likely to conclude they can dominate him again and again, at least on domestic policy.

This is exactly what happened in 1993 to President Clinton after he bowed to the Democratic leadership in Congress. He wound up with a reputation for knuckling under, and his signature initiative on health care failed. And in 1994, Republicans captured both houses of Congress.

The problem with the House stimulus package is less its size ($850 billion) than its contents. Two of its biggest expenditures — jobs in building infrastructure and in environmentally-friendly industries and sending checks to tens of millions of Americans — have been tried before and failed to revive a sagging economy. The measure also allocates $166 billion for states and $6 billion for colleges, arguably worthwhile expenditures but ones with no stimulative value. That’s also true of the tax cuts in the package. They would provide cash for corporations but practically no incentives for investment, the key to an economic recovery. And of course there’s the blatant pork: $44 million to repair the Agriculture Department headquarters, $650 million to help digitize TVs, $50 million for the National Endowment for the Arts, and so on.

There’s still another problem. The bulk of the spending wouldn’t hit the economy until the second half of this year, much of it late in the year or in early 2010. So whatever stimulus effect it has would be late in arriving.

When does Obama, who has vowed the stimulus package would be pork-free, enter the picture? The answer is soon, since Democrats are in a hurry to pass a bill. If he informs congressional Democrats that the package is unsatisfactory, they’re likely to accede to his wishes. They don’t want to embarrass a new Democratic president.

By stepping in forcefully, Obama will pass the test of leadership. He said on Sunday that he sees “no obstacle” in his way. But there is one: congressional Democrats. They are seemingly more partisan and liberal than Obama and impatient to pass liberal initiatives that were non-starters in the 16-year era of Republican control of Congress, the White House, or both.

Obama is also committed to gaining the support of a critical mass of Republicans. But he can’t achieve that with the stimulus package put together by House Democrats. The easiest way to attract Republicans is by including tax incentives for private investment. Such tax cuts, if retroactive to January 1, would have the added value of an immediate impact on the economy.

Related:
China May Have Mafia View of Obama Stimulus: “Someday We Break Your Legs”